Defence Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday attributed the resurgence of Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan to the series of peace agreements which Islamabad had with the militants in the last few years.
“To a considerable degree, the Taliban resurgence began when Pakistan made peace agreements with various insurgent and extremist groups on its Western border. This allowed them more freedom of movement and an effective base of operations,” Gates said.
Referring to the recent military offensive launched by the Pakistani military against the Taliban, he said that the approach by Islamabad to enter into peace agreements with the militants has now come to an end.
“There is now clear recognition by the Pakistanis on the direct threat that extremists pose to their national survival,” Gates said during the course of his address to the US Central Command’s Gulf States Chiefs of Defence Conference. “The recent offensive by the Pakistani military in the Swat Valley was most certainly an encouraging first step,” he said.
The Defence Secretary said Afghanistan, though outside the regional focus of this conference, is a vitally important topic for Gulf security interests.